What Are The 3 Phases Of The South Beach Diet?

Chicken and vegetables

Often compared and contrasted with the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet was developed by Dr. Arthur Agatston, director of the Mount Sinai Cardiac Prevention Center in Miami Beach in Florida.

Dr. Agatston, a cardiologist, created the South Beach Diet to help patients manage their cholesterol and insulin, the two factors that can significantly increase the risk of a cardiac arrest.

Once, weight loss, the side benefit of the South Beach diet was discovered, it was not restricted to only cardiac patients instead it found its way to all those who really wanted to lose weight.

What is The South Beach Diet?

The South Beach diet is said to be a scientific approach toward eating. Even though it is a ‘low-carb’ diet, it does not shun all carbohydrates. Neither does it allow consumption of a large amount of saturated fats. In fact, according to Cindy Moore, Director of nutrition therapy at The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, the South Beach diet ‘does’ meet several criteria for a health-promoting diet.

The South Beach Diet is Divided Into ‘Three Phases’

Phase 1 of The South Beach Diet

lasts for about 14 days during which there is a strict regulation on what can be consumed. Poultry, fish, turkey and shellfish are allowed along with vegetables, nuts, eggs and cheese. Beverages like coffee and tea are also allowed, but in moderate quantities.

A generous use of olive oil is recommended at this stage. The South Beach diet does not recommend starvation and therefore, allows followers to consume regular size meals. This is the phase when the maximum weight loss occurs in the least amount of time.

Phase 2 of The South Beach Diet

Phase 2 of the South Beach diet is relatively easy and a few of the starchy foods that were removed from the diet are reintroduced. However, high glycemic index carbohydrates are still not recommended.

So, while you can consume whole wheat and brown rice, white bread is something that will need to be avoided in this phase too. This phase lasts until the desired weight is achieved.

Phase 3 of The South Beach Diet

Phase 3 of the South Beach diet is not really a stage in the real sense of the word. It is the start of a way of life that the follower needs to follow for the rest of his or her life. The guidelines that are laid down in this phase of the South Beach diet are therefore lenient so that the suggestions can be followed on a long term basis.

Weight Loss Tips When On The South Beach Diet

The allowed and restricted foods in the South Beach diet differ based on the phase. In phase 1 almost all carbohydrates are banned from the diet and the main foods that are allowed are meats, vegetables and nuts.

The consumption of large amounts of water is recommended to cleanse the system. Absence of carbohydrates in this phase regulates the insulin level fluctuations in the body.

The food allowed in phase 2 expands to include low glycemic index carbohydrates like whole wheat and duran wheat pasta. Even at this stage hollow calories and low fiber or high glycemic index foods like candies, alcoholic drinks, sodas, sugar and ice creams are strictly forbidden.

Phase three allows an even wider range of foods since the target is weight maintenance rather than weight loss. However, the guidelines need to be followed strictly to ensure that the weight does not return.

Will I Lose Weight On The South Beach Diet?

Developed by a cardiologist, the South Beach diet is scientific and has not been criticized due to its concept, nutritional content or logic. It is considered to be one of the top 5 weight loss diets in the country today.

A study of 40 overweight people showed that the South Beach diet helped in achieving an average weight loss of about 13 pounds in the initial 2 weeks.

One comment

  • Violetta

    South Beach is, indeed a reputable diet. It is much like the Atkins diet, but except for the first two weeks, in which both diets are very restrictive, South Beach is much easier to follow. This diet allows you to add back more good carbs earlier on, which makes it easier to stick with than Atkins.

    Lots of people are able to lose a lot of weight during the first two weeks, but weight loss does slow after that. Still, even on phase two, you can lose steadily if you follow the plan. South Beach, like many other diets that work, teaches dieters that avoiding bad fats and bad carbs in favor of good ones is required in order to take weight off and keep it off. The diet’s main principles must be followed even after the weight is gone if you expect to keep it off. But, the diet is very nutritionally sound.

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